We’ve all considered which song we would like to be played at our funeral; let’s not deny it. Paul Weller from The Jam and The Style Council is no different. However, unlike him, most of us don’t have the luxury of the song being a number we crafted ourselves.
When it comes to back catalogues for funeral songs, Weller has more choice than most. The Jam released their debut album back in 1977 when he was still a fresh-faced teenager, and since then, ‘The Modfather’ has continued to release music at a prolific rate without taking a lengthy hiatus.
The singer makes music for the love of it, and it’s Weller’s vehicle of choice which has helped guide him through the challenging trials and tribulations of life. He reflected on his career with Another Man in 2018: “I wouldn’t know how to write a hit these days, but then I’ve never known that. I’ve only ever written what I felt at the time, and if it’s been successful, that’s great. But equally, other things I’ve really liked haven’t been successful”.
Adding: “It’s my life’s work, so I have to satisfy myself first and foremost – there’d be no point doing it otherwise. Obviously, once I’ve done that, I want to play it to other people and get other people into it. But I think first and foremost, I try to satisfy something inside myself, really. If other people get it and they share in it? That’s fantastic.”
When speaking to NME in 2021 about the soundtrack of his life, Weller named the song he’d like played when it’s finally his time to rest. Surprisingly, he decided to elect two pieces by The Jam for the occasion, which is unexpected considering he rarely likes to reflect on their work and has moved on.
He revealed: “Well it depends really, if I get buried, probably ‘Going Underground’, and if I get cremated, ‘Funeral Pyre’ maybe. But who knows. Perhaps I won’t have a funeral, I might just evaporate.”
Lyrically, both songs make sense from a titular standpoint, even if they don’t have the emotional weight behind them that you’d expect for a funeral song. On ‘Going Underground’, Weller sings: “I’m going underground (going underground), Well, if the brass bands play and feet start to pound, Going underground (going underground), So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow”.
Meanwhile, ‘Funeral Pyre’ is a stand-alone single which The Jam released in 1981 and landed at number four on the UK singles chart. Both efforts would be a humourous way for Weller to bow out and raise a smile from everybody in attendance, which is the perfect way for him to make his last goodbye.